Administrators of the joint powers authority that provides liability coverage to Pleasanton Unified School District have reached settlements in two claims filed by district employees alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment at the hands of former Walnut Grove Elementary principal Jon Vranesh, district officials announced Wednesday.
The settlements came after a formal mediation session with retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw.
"Our district seeks to ensure that each of its schools and offices are workplaces where employees are treated with respect and dignity," Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said in a written statement Wednesday.
"Since the time the actions described in these claims were brought to our attention, we have taken deliberate steps to ensure that Walnut Grove Elementary is the kind of workplace we expect all our facilities to be," she added.
Vranesh, who has publicly denied such allegations, was placed on administrative leave on Oct. 25, 2013. His contract for an administrator's position was not renewed by the district for the 2014-15 school year.
The joint powers authority, a risk-sharing program providing property and liability coverage for regional school districts and education agencies, will pay each of the two employees $245,000, according to Pleasanton district officials. The funds will not come from the district budget and will not impact revenue or operations, according to the district.
Both employees, whose names were not disclosed, have agreed to release the district from future claims, district officials said.
According to Ahmadi's statement, the claims by these employees describe an alleged pattern of behavior by Vranesh that included the use of derogatory, vulgar and sexual terms to refer to female employees, discussing inappropriate subjects with employees and making statements perceived as threats to the safety or job security of employees.
Attorney Paul Kondrick, who represents Vranesh, said Wednesday that he was unaware any claims had been filed by school employees against the district regarding alleged actions by his client. Kondrick added that he spoke with the district's attorney, Kim Kingsley Bogard, in November and was informed no claims were filed at that time.
All claims filed against the district go through evaluation and investigations. "Administrators of the joint powers authority reviewed evidence in this case, concluded the allegations in the claims had been substantiated and advised that the claims should be settled without delay," Ahmadi stated.
Further details about the employees' claims were not available by press time. Updates will be made to this story.
Vranesh himself has filed a claim against the school district, alleging district officials defamed him and violated his right to privacy during PUSD'S handling of the allegations against him.
The Pleasanton school board named Jan Steed as Vranesh's permanent replacement as Walnut Grove principal on May 13.